This Saturday August 24: Leeches of Lore only $5 at Sister.
Sister’s ad in this week’s Alibi erroneously indicated that Saturday’s Leeches of Lore show had a $15 cover charge. Not so. It’s only $5. My fault. Sorry everyone.
Allen Lanier died at the age of 67 due to lung disease complications. Lanier, who died on Aug. 14, was a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult and played keyboards and guitar for the band. RIP Mr. Lanier. You can view a video of the band playing the iHeartRadio Theater in December 2012.
George Strait granted a rare interview with Billboard, wherein he talks about his first band (garage rock!), his career and why he doesn’t like to give interviews.
According to MTV, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have announced that they’re going to perform their single, “Same Love,” an ode to marriage equality, at the 2013 VMAs, which air on Sunday, Aug. 25.
King Tuff finally made a music video for “Sun Medallion,” my favorite track off 2008's Was Dead.
Continuing with a string of 7-inch releases, Kim Deal has come out with a new song, titled “Are You Mine?” But Ms. Deal has gone the extra mile to deliver an official music video for the track as well.
If you were as obsessed with Pitch Perfect as I was (and no, not in an ironic way), then you may be tickled pink to know they're coming out with an a capella Christmas record. Yes siree, the holidays just got aca-serious.
Fiona Apple's made a career out of break-ups, but you gotta admit no one can write a poetic ode to a failed relationship like this woman. Apple is gearing up to go on tour with Blake Mills and shared a video of them two playing a classic Fiona Apple track, “I Know,” from her 1999 album, When The Pawn...
The tracklist for the triple-disc reissue of Nirvana's In Utero can now be scoped by the public. The reissue hits stores and online markets on Sept. 24.
So Franz Ferdinand are still at it? I'm sure excitement is a-brewing for their upcoming release, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, set to hit stores Aug. 27. But you can see their performance of “Love Illumination” via Pitchfork.
L.A. sister trio, Haim, shared the video for their latest single, “The Wire.” If you like rhythmic pop with a stylish kick, this just may be your thing.
But the album that cemented my belief in Nirvana was their final album, In Utero. Sure, Nirvana fans would argue that it was their most mainstream and pop-influenced effort, but I think it was also their most nuanced and forward-thinking album as well. Their sound was still rough, but it had gained a diversity that was lacking in previous efforts. You can take tracks like “Very Ape” and “Scentless Apprentice,” which harken back to their more metal moments and know they hadn't lost their touch, but then you could hear songs like “Dumb” and “All Apologies” and know their songwriting had not only expanded, it had blossomed. This is one of the most interesting things about music—as with any artform: People experience it differently. Depending on when you listen to it, what mood you're in, what sounds within a certain layered track are vibrating in your eardrum, you can take a lot from a little—and vice versa.
But the reason I decided to revisit this album (which I've been listening to for the past few weeks) is because it doesn't get old. It still sounds fresh, inviting, sinister and heartfelt. It still maintains a specific cadence that only Nirvana could pull off, and 'til this day, many argue that Kurt Cobain was probably the last real “rock star” we had and that we'll probably ever have. Not sure if that's true, and I wouldn't really care to argue the point as it's a trivial thought to ponder, but the music speaks for itself. Timeless? Sure. Tasteful? Maybe not. Rock 'n' roll? Most definitely. And this is probably why it's being reissued 20 years after it first dropped into record stores all over the world, when people pondered the controversy of Cobain bellowing “Rape me.”
The In Utero reissue is scheduled to hit stores and online markets on Sept. 24, and will be available on both CD and LP formats. The “Super Delux Edition” box set will include 70 additional tracks. That's right: 70 “remastered, remixed, rare, unreleased and live recordings.” According to the Universal Music announcement, it will be “a veritable treasure trove of never-before-heard demos, B-sides, compilation tracks,” and will also include a DVD of Nirvana's “Live and Loud” concert that was filmed on Seattle's Pier 48 on Dec. 13, 1993. But don't worry, the concert DVD will also be sold as a stand-alone item; if you don't want to put the bones down for the entire box set, you can buy it all by its lonesome. It's exciting news for this particular music fan. The tracklists for the box set haven't been announced, so scan those headlines, music nerds. You can also view an old television ad the band filmed for the initial release of In Utero below.
But Beal is weird. His interviews boast a vagabond background mixed with rock star arrogance—because he doesn't bullshit. He knows who he is, and he truly doesn't care what anyone thinks, as long as he has room to make music at his own pace. Give the man some room so he can make magic happen. He recently shared a new track from his upcoming record Nobody knows. That song, titled “Too Dry to Cry,” showcases his poignant and forthright lyrics as well as his soulful, ridiculously good vocals. Seriously, this dude has the ferocious authenticity of Robert Johnson with an affinity for slowly slithering into your eardrum like Otis Redding.
Comparisons aside, the guy is prolific. If you haven't seen his performance on “Later … with Jools Holland,” watch it immediately. If it doesn't bring a minor tear to your eye, there's no humanity left in you; all that's left is a shell, a flicker of what used to be a vibrant example of humanity. Okay, I'm being a little dramatic, but it's that good. If his new track is anything to go by, we can expect some great things from his new record. Nobody knows. hits stores September 10. So keep an eye and ear out.
So, why is Loretta Lynn's latest record so important? Take for instance the fact that she released the album when she was 72. And, instead of having country music aficionados take the reins in the production booth, she enlisted the help of contemporary garage-rocker Jack White (most famous then for his work in The White Stripes). Seeing these two walk down the red carpet at the Grammys together might seem odd out of context, but having listened to the album, it makes perfect sense. The bond created during the recording of these 13 tracks isn't something that disappears once the lights go out and the track is deemed fit for airplay. Because if you listen to this record, you can hear the molding of this friendship manifest in the way Lynn sings—with the same vibrant twang that made her a household country name—and the way White offers a rock and roll background, letting Loretta shine amidst electric guitars, booming drums and the quieter, softer moments; see “Miss Being Mrs.”
Van Lear Rose is one of those albums that are meant to be played all the way through—no skipping. It tells a story: from the time Lynn was a girl, sitting with her coal miner father, listening to him tell the story of how he met her mother (“Van Lear Rose”) to reflecting on what made her life so joyous, but at the same time wondering where it all leads (“Story of My Life”). Looking back, I'm not surprised it won the Grammy Award for Best Country Album or ended up in the top 10 of so many year-end “best of” lists. It's a gem. Simple as that.
Part of the reason the album hit so hard is that Loretta Lynn is still that hard-talking, freewheeling, lovable woman she started out as—with her classic hit “Coal Miner's Daughter” and other notable songs like “You Ain't Woman Enough” and “Rated 'X.'” Even in her golden years, she is the same person, and she covers the same emotional ground that made her famous in the first place, ie. cheating husbands, childbirth and motherhood and struggling to make ends meet. Just listen to tracks like “Mrs. Leroy Brown” or “Family Tree,” where she takes her kids to the home of the woman their dad is cheating with and asks the husband to come out and see what he's doing to their family. That's real talk.
But it’s an album that couldn't exist without the confluence of measure. What I mean by that is the importance of knowing your limits and knowing when to let someone help out. I’m not saying Lynn has limits; maybe she does, but they're not shown on this record, and she wrote all the songs. But she knows when to let White work in his expertise, particularly on lead single “Portland, Oregon.” A drunken love song in every sense of the word, the lead guitar moves through the track like a forceful river yet calms down enough for the duo to shine—while asking the bartender for one more sloe gin fizz and “a pitcher to go.”
But don't take my word for it. I'm not even that into country music, but I’ve had a soft spot for Loretta Lynn since I watched Coal Miner's Daughter as a toddler. She was just one of those singer/songwriters who always had a presence in my childhood. This is not only one of the best albums of 2004. This is one of the best albums ever recorded, and I’ll stand by that like a man whose britches are in sync with love for all kinds of music. It’s a masterpiece. Enough said.
A group of researchers from Tokyo University of the Arts and RIKEN Brain Science Institute have decided to tackle an interesting subject: Why do we love sad songs? It's a valid question, considering many sad songs have entered the top-40 and kept listeners on their toes while belting out minor chords over hopeless lyrics. Adele's “Someone Like You” is one example that comes to mind. These researchers not only wanted to discuss the various reasons why people listen to sad music but also to see if they could pinpoint certain characteristics within the music that pique certain emotions.
They had 44 volunteers listen to two pieces of sad music and one piece of happy music, and they basically came to the conclusion that sad music actually made people feel more positive about their own lives. They concluded that while the volunteers listened to these despairing, emotionally-driven opuses, they found “sad music to be more tragic, less romantic, and less blithe than they felt themselves while listening to it,” according to an article in Science Daily. So maybe we do listen to sad music to realize how good we have it?
This got me thinking about what sad songs I enjoy listening to, or better yet, got me thinking what my favorite sad song is. As a music journalist, that's a hard question to answer because I like different things at different times. But one sad song that did come to mind was Joanna Newsom's “Go Long,” from her 2010 album Have One On Me. It's one of those songs that if you see her play it live, it utterly kills you. I witnessed the most rough-looking dudes crying like babies when the song was over. I don't cry when I hear it, but I do really enjoy it. It's a beautiful number that dissects the “Bluebeard” story in its most poetic, morbid sense. But now I'm curious … what's a notable sad song for you?
Like most Beck fans, I was turned on to the cryptic chameleon when I first heard Odelay in '96. Though it's probably considered his most mainstream effort, save the post-breakup lament of 2002's Sea Change, it's one of his most dynamic, beat-packed and outlandish releases. Yet, the thing with Beck is that he keeps going, regardless of the direction. Sure, that's a fairly exciting thing when you've been a fan of a musician for so many years; but unless you're in it for the long haul, it can become a little tiring. After contemplating the '60s psych-twinged alt-pop of 2008's Modern Guilt, I worried that Beck was running out of steam, trying desperately to retain some semblance of the alternative cool that propelled him to stardom at the peak of '90s weirdness. But Beck's new single “I Won't Be Long” gives me hope.
Beck is supposedly releasing two albums this year (one acoustic and one that is described as a “proper follow-up” to Modern Guilt). Though speculation seems to be the way it goes with Beck until a physical album finally manifests in our radio speakers. However the single signals the more well-rounded sound that was present on 2006's The Information, one of Beck's better releases, if I do say so myself. Keeping a steady, atmospheric pace, the production is clean, organized and surprising all at the same time. You can also check out another recent single “Defriended,” below. This one sees Beck riding an elastically equipped beat, churning out rhythmic synth melodies and echo-singing through it all.
The thing about Beck—what often gets lost on people—is that you have to embrace his weirdness. You have to take his word for it that with each direction, he's going to guide you somewhere safely, fuck with your head a little bit, but have you back before dark so your parents don't worry. Take for instance his Song Reader album, released last year. The album consists of 20 songs in sheet music form. So if you want to hear it, you have to learn how to play it or find someone who can. Although if you spend a good enough amount of time on the interwebs, you can find live videos of Beck playing the album live for the first time in London on July 4.
If there's one criticism that I've heard about Beck, it's that he's constantly recycling his old tricks, using stark lyrics, slick production and quirky beats to relay the same old messages but in different words and rhythms. But what do you expect? The guy's released 10+ albums in the span of two decades. Does that not grant him a little room on experimenting with his experiments, even if they turn out similar results? Does not one gleam of inspiration immediately relay toward another spark of awakening? I'm getting carried away. All I'm saying is that if this single is anything, it's an indicator that Beck is still creating interesting work, and 2013 may just be the year that he releases another (if not two other) substantial album(s). Play on.
Putting the word “The” in front of the name—thus making it The Julie Ruin, y'all—Hanna has resurrected not only a name, but an idea and a good one at that. If you haven't heard her post-Bikini Kill bedroom recordings, you should take a listen. They're not groundbreaking, but they were a solid precursor to the “Deceptacon”-era Hanna who would make her mark on the music industry. Maybe she wasn't a chart-topper, but she maintains a loyal fanbase that is keen on hearing her wild vocals inundate them with a little radical mystique—Feminist Sweepstakes, anyone? I digress … Hanna has announced that The Julie Ruin's debut album, titled Run Fast, is set to hit the streets on the 3rd of September (you know ... the day we’ll always remember). So be on the lookout for that, and while you're waiting for that illustrious morn to approach, you still have the old basement recordings of the original incarnation to tide you over. And if Le Tigre's This Island and The Julie Ruin’s first single, “Oh Come On,” are anything to go by, then you know Hanna delivers the goods when she has the proper studio treatment to rely on. Just sayin'.
Original drummer Bill Ward couldn't make it and Tony Iommi's lymphoma diagnosis caused Ozzy to go on an 18 month bender, but all in all "God is Dead?" Black Sabbath's first single from their new album 13, seems to cut the mustard. Experts agree that Tony Iommi's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath guitar sound broke barriers of distortion-physics and ultimately gave many stoners reason to live another day. I'm happy to report that Iommi's metal on metal guitar sound—complete with those constant pick squeaks—is present and accounted for. Also, Ozzy can still rhyme. We're good.